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I try not to use that headline too often, but it seems fitting here. The verdict has been reached and the Boston Red Sox will get RHP Chris Carpenter from the Cubs. Cue the feigned outrage!!!!

The 26-year old righty can hit 100 mph and occassionally the broad side of a barn; 6.4 BB/9 in 45.1 IP in AAA. The overall minor league numbers are 1.384 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9 , 3.62 ERA and a history of arm problems. He's probably a good bet to have a few good major league seasons, but I doubt the Cubs have lost a key cog in the machine they're attempting to build. Carpenter will go off the Cubs 40-man leaving room for the Cubs to add LHP Gerardo Concepcion.

The blog "Dodger Sims" ran a bunch of simulations using a variety of player projection forecasts. And what's the prediction for 2012?

to the tune of low to mid 70's win totals.

This all seems still seems a little less than 100%, but there was a report early in the evening from the Tribune and Dave van Dyck saying the Cubs are "expected" to sign Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler according to "multiple reports" from the Dominican (it's more fun if you read that with air quote hand gestures).  The folks at Cub Hub seemed to have heard from the Score confirming the deal. Kevin Goldstein has no reason not to believe the reports, saying Soler's agent made similar agreements with other players he's represented before they offiicially became available to sign. Soler of course has yet to complete the legal gymnastics that Cespedes had to go through, so any confirmation from the Cubs is probably not going to come anytime in the near future. One report is suggesting a 3-4 year deal in the $27.5M range. The difference in that deal to Cespedes is that Soler would not get the clause in his contract where the club would not offer arbitration or auto-renew him once the deal is completed, meaning he'd be under the Cubs control for 6 full years of major league service time which doesn't start until he makes his major league debut. Once the initial contract runs out, he'd either sign a new one or just default to either pre-arbitration or arbitration depending on where he's at with his service time, similar to what Jeff Samardzija is going through right now.

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I was trying to get my prospect list-mania article up and then Firefox ate half my work. I'll save it for a future date. In the meantime, now that the A's have signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a 4/$36M deal, I'm comfortable calling him totally overrated. Jorge Soler is the real prize of the Cuban "draft class" and the guy the Cubs should be pursuing. I'm kidding around of course, Cespedes would have been a nice get for the Cubs, but it was not meant to be. The latest report was that the Cubs were now stepping up their pursuit of Soler with a number of $27.5M being thrown out there to try and land him. That report is from the same guy that said Marlins were the clear frontrunner for Cespedes as of yesterday, so salt meet grain. Of course, if I understand this correctly, Soler hasn't been declared eligible yet nor established residency, so certainly more teams will be rumored to be involved once that all falls in line. The last I heard on the timetable was to expect something around the start of the season.

Baseball Prospectus put up their top 101 major league prospects. On the topic of Soler, Goldstein says he'd rank him #38/#39 depending if you count Cespedes as a prospect. As for the Cubs, Brett Jackson at #44, Javier Baez at #66 and Anthony Rizzo at #75. Former Cub Hak-Ju Lee at #65 on his list.

Thanks for all the feedback on the survey over the weeked, a lot of good ideas in there and a lot of nice complements as well.

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As I've mentioned in the comments, a new site design is on its way in the near(ish) future. Ideally before Opening Day arrives so I can work out the bugs before the games start. It will hopefully be easier to navigate and more importantly to me, easier to maintain as I'm finding the time that I can spend on the site dwindling year by year.

Since absolutely nothing remotely interesting is happening, I'm going to dip into the shark infested waters and dare to ask what more or less you'd like to see from the site.

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These few weeks before spring training starts is about as dull as it gets around these parts. We're all still waiting on Cespedes, but with Jedstein and their cone of silence, it's not like we can expect many leaks. There's also the case of the musical 40-man roster chairs with the Cubs having to drop someone once they add Gerardo Concepcion. Vegas money should be on Andy Sonnastine with Marcus Mateo and his lack of options a strong second. And the issue of compensation for both Theo and Jed still looms with no foreseeable end in sight.

I've got my annual prospect list-mania post coming up for Monday which always includes my delusional top 16 which should be good for laugh. It doesn't appear our pal Arizona Phil put up a list this year unfortunately, so you'll have to get your prospect fix from the national guys.

The Cubs claimed infielder Adrian Cardenas off waivers today from the Oakland A's, where he was outrighted to make room for Johnny Gomes. To make room on the 40-man, the Cubs DFA'd Blake DeWitt. Before we get to Cardenas, if I'm reading this correctly, the Cubs most likely cost themselves up to $1.1M? I believe they're on the hook for DeWitt's salary, when they could have just non-tendered him back in December, but of course they didn't know Cardenas was available back then. If DeWitt signs with another team, I believe the Cubs are just on the hook for the dfference in salary, which will likely be the mininum, so a little over $600K. Now a team may also put a claim in or work out a trade and the Cubs will be completely off the hook, but those scenarios seem less likely. Not a big deal overall, as the Cubs have plenty of wiggle room to their payroll, but an odd move nonetheless. Now was it worth it for Cardenas?

The infielder was a supplemental first round pick of the Philies in 2006 (37th overall) out of high school in Florida. He was on the Philles top 10 list in 2008, ranked 2nd behind Carlos Carrasco and ahead of guys like Kyle Drabek and Domonic Brown and #76 among the top 100 overall prospects. In July of that year he was traded along with now-a-Cub Matt Spencer and Josh Outman for Joe Blanton. He was ranked #5 in the A's top 10 list for 2009 and #74 overall. He dropped to #9 in 2010 and out of the top 10 by 2011. I don't have the BA 2012 handbook, but apparently he was ranked #12 although that was before the Gio Gonzalez trade.

The Cubs did sign an acclaimed player out of Cuba, but it's not Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler. Rather 18-year old LHP Gerardo Concepcion. A player Kevin Goldstein called polished for his age, but with the ceiling of a #4/#5 starter and whom Goldstein would put at #6 on his Top 11 Cubs prospect list.  Standing at 6'2", he throws in the upper 80's to 90mph with a curve and a change-up (what's up Ted Lilly?). Considering his age and alleged polish, he should start in Peoria rather than hang back in Arizona and then join Boise or the Arizona Rookie League in June. Enrique Rojas says the deal is for a total of $7M and a major league deal, which means a 40-man roster move would be necessary. ESPN Chicago adds that incentives can take the deal up to around the $8M mark. All this makes the Jeff Samardzija draft deal look good.

The Cubs have also signed Ryan-Rowland Smith to a minor league deal. The 29-year old Aussie pitched in the Astros minor leagues after spending parts of 4 seasons in the majors with the Mariners, but I'll always remember him from this commercial. I presume he'll be added to the non-roster invite list for spring training.

Also, with Edwin Jackson signing with the Nationals, the Cubs at the moment own the #6, #43, #55 and #65 picks in the 2012 draft. Derek Lee and Raul Ibanez are the last two Type B free agents out there and there's no guarantee they'll sign, but if they do, they both rank higher than Carlos Pena in the Elias Rankings, so those last two picks I mentioned could drop to as low as #57 and #67 if I did my math correctly. BA put out an early top 100 prospect list for the 2012 draft for some early obsessing.

So John Lannan lost his arbitration case to the Nationals and wil be paid $5M for next season (as opposed to $5.7M he was asking). Now that the money is settled, the Nats are trying to move Lannan for a position player, preferably a center fielder, so that they can sign Edwin Jackson instead. I'm not quite sure why they want to make that swap, but that seems to be the goal for them. If the Cubs cared to add another mediocre pitcher with 2 years of club control while moving Marlon Byrd and the one year left on his contract, while saving about $1.5M, it appears a match could be made.

I certainly don't see the Cubs doing it, not much difference between Paul Maholm and Lannan and it seems that the pitching depth problem has been more than solved. And if you're a fan of FIP, Lannan's numbers are worse than what he's actually put up. But on some level it could make some sense, especially if the Cubs are afraid they won't have a taker in 2 months for Byrd. And they do have Reed Johnson, Tony Campana, Brett Jackson, David DeJesus and possibly Yoenis Cespedes that can step up in center field if Byrd is moved.

Speaking of arbitration, Matt Garza's case is heard tomorrow. Once that's settled, I wouldn't be surprised for the rumor mongering to start up again, once teams are certain of his cost.

The Cubs inked soon-to-be 39 year old Trever Miler to a minor league deal. He'll earn 800K if he makes the team. He'll get a non-roster invite to spring training and I'm sure we'll get the full list of those invitees by the end of the week. It being a minor league deal, hard to get to worked up over it, but Miller has done absolutely nothing other than see his K rate get cut in half over the last two seasons, while still maintaining the ability to walk the stadium.

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP WP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 36 STL 4 1 .800 2.06 70 9 0 43.2 31 11 10 5 11 1 46 2 1 199 0.962 6.4 1.0 2.3 9.5 4.18
2010 37 STL 0 1 .000 4.00 57 3 0 36.0 30 17 16 2 16 0 22 2 4 98 1.278 7.5 0.5 4.0 5.5 1.38
2011 38 BOS-min 0 0   2.70 3 1 0 3.1 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0   0.600 5.4 0.0 0.0 5.4   PAW · IL
2011 38 TOT 0 1 .000 3.80 48 5 1 21.1 25 9 9 2 12 2 12 2 2 106 1.734 10.5 0.8 5.1 5.1 1.00
13 Seasons 18 17 .514 4.18 694 133 11 523.1 521 264 243 54 237 28 434 43 22 106 1.448 9.0 0.9 4.1 7.5 1.83
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2012.

Spring training roster filler at its finest.

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